J Plant Ecol ›› 2018, Vol. 11 ›› Issue (3): 375-384.DOI: 10.1093/jpe/rtw140

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Functional groups of Sahelian trees in a semiarid agroforestry system of Senegal

Joseph S. Diémé1,2,*, Mayécor Diouf2, Cristina Armas1, Graciela M. Rusch3 and Francisco I. Pugnaire1   

  1. 1 Estación Experimental de Zonas Áridas, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Ctra. de Sacramento s/n, 04120 La Cañada, Almería, Spain; 2 Centre National de Recherches Forestières, Institut Sénégalais de Recherches Agricoles (CNRF/ISRA), Dakar, Senegal; 3 Norwegian Institute for Nature Research, Trondheim, Norway
  • Received:2016-06-30 Accepted:2016-12-14 Published:2018-03-06
  • Contact: Diémé, Joseph

Abstract: Aims Addressing plant responses to water stress is critical to understand the structure of plant communities in water-limited environments and to forecast their resilience to future changes in climate. In a semiarid agroforestry system in the Sahelian savannah of Leona (Senegal), we selected nine common tree species and explored their stress-resistance mechanisms. These species represent a variety of life forms and are of high regional socio-economic importance. We hypothesized that different species would show different suites of traits to cope with water stress and expected to identify functional groups differing in strategies to withstand water shortage.
Methods Along a dry and a wet season, we monitored four traits reflecting above- and below-ground strategies of resource acquisition such as predawn leaf water potential (ψ pd), specific leaf area (SLA), leaf thickness and leaf area index (LAI). We also measured two morphological traits: trunk diameter and tree height. LAI and ψ pd were measured six times during the dry and rainy seasons, and the other traits were measured once.
Important findings We identified two functional classes subdivided into two functional groups of each class. The first class included deciduous and semi-deciduous species that generally had large SLA, low leaf thickness and small-to-intermediate inter-seasonal variations in ψ pd. The second class included evergreen species of two functional groups that differ in SLA, leaf thickness and the magnitude of inter-seasonal variations of ψ pd throughout the year. The four functional groups identified in this study represent plant strategies differing in their response to changing environmental conditions.

Key words: Acacia tortilis/, Adansonia digitata, Balanites aegyptiaca, Celtis integrifolia, Combretum glutinosum, Faidherbia albida, functional traits, Neocarya macrophyla, Sclerocarya birrea, Tamarindus indica, water stress

摘要:
Aims Addressing plant responses to water stress is critical to understand the structure of plant communities in water-limited environments and to forecast their resilience to future changes in climate. In a semiarid agroforestry system in the Sahelian savannah of Leona (Senegal), we selected nine common tree species and explored their stress-resistance mechanisms. These species represent a variety of life forms and are of high regional socio-economic importance. We hypothesized that different species would show different suites of traits to cope with water stress and expected to identify functional groups differing in strategies to withstand water shortage.
Methods Along a dry and a wet season, we monitored four traits reflecting above- and below-ground strategies of resource acquisition such as predawn leaf water potential (ψ pd), specific leaf area (SLA), leaf thickness and leaf area index (LAI). We also measured two morphological traits: trunk diameter and tree height. LAI and ψ pd were measured six times during the dry and rainy seasons, and the other traits were measured once.
Important findings We identified two functional classes subdivided into two functional groups of each class. The first class included deciduous and semi-deciduous species that generally had large SLA, low leaf thickness and small-to-intermediate inter-seasonal variations in ψ pd. The second class included evergreen species of two functional groups that differ in SLA, leaf thickness and the magnitude of inter-seasonal variations of ψ pd throughout the year. The four functional groups identified in this study represent plant strategies differing in their response to changing environmental conditions.